I’d always suspected that there was something inappropriate about the nature of my ex’s relationship with our mutual friend but I didn’t want to believe that the guy I loved so deeply would do something so horrible as cheating on me. Before I found out about their affair, I actually watched him flirting with her and I didn’t do anything about it. Big mistake.
- I wish I’d broken up with him on the spot. I wish that I had the courage to just end it right then and there. He stood there on the other side of the room at the party we both attended, put his arm around this girl, and whispered in her ear while she flirtily laughed back at him. Everyone there knew he was my boyfriend, everyone saw us come to the party together, and everyone saw him go peak a-hole and shamelessly flirt with a woman who wasn’t me. I should’ve broken up with him right then and reclaimed the power that he stripped away from me.
- I wish I’d confronted them directly. She knew me. We followed each other on social media and we had a rapport. I wished I’d walked up to her and called her out for flirting with my boyfriend in front of me and having zero respect for me or my relationship. As for my ex, I should have ripped him a new one instead of letting it slide. I was his girlfriend of multiple years. We’d shared so much and in that moment, he reduced our relationship to nothing.
- I wish I hadn’t tried to convince myself that I was just imagining things. At first, I tried to rationalize what I was seeing. I actually tried to make myself believe that my eyes were deceiving me. No, he didn’t mean to lean into her body like that—it’s just that the kitchen space they’re standing in is really small. Oh, it’s loud in here so he pulled her close so she could hear him. I told myself all of these things because I desperately didn’t want to see what was right in front of my eyes. Maybe if I’d believed it when I saw it, I would’ve broken up with him sooner.
- I wish I’d listened to my gut. My gut told me that something had been going on for a while. I knew they were getting too close for comfort. She was his Top 3 on Snapchat. She was always coming up in our conversations. She texted him constantly. She even called! She was a literal interference in my relationship, creating a gap between two people that otherwise had a seemingly unbreakable bond. My gut told me that something was going on way before I watched him flirt with her that day. I should’ve listened.
- I wish I hadn’t lost sight of my self-worth. You always think that you’re a confident woman with endless self-worth until you’re confronted with a situation that tests its true level. That’s what happened to me. I’d always seen myself as someone who had a lot of self-esteem, but this moment made me feel small and helpless.
- I wish I hadn’t blamed myself for his behavior. Maybe I wasn’t being as loving anymore, I said to myself. Maybe I was being distant and not as affectionate. Maybe I was letting other things take significance over my relationship. Maybe I was taking him for granted—maybe that’s why he was seeking attention and affection from another woman. Maybe that’s why he cheated on me. Can you believe that I actually said these things to myself when I excused myself and headed to the bathroom to collect myself? I blamed myself for his crappy behavior and I was so wrong. He made those choices. He did those things, not me.
- I wish I’d left the party. I had too much pride that night. I wanted to stay and fight it out. I wanted people to think that I was cool with it, that I knew he and this chick had a friendship. I didn’t want to look stupid and I didn’t want to look or act defeated. But the truth is that he didn’t deserve to humiliate me anymore and I should have left for my own peace of mind. These days, I don’t let these things happen to me anymore. IDGAF what other people think.
- I wish I’d believed I was strong enough to be without him. He was my first real boyfriend and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Even in the face of cheating, I couldn’t bear to live without him. I was so afraid of the unknown, of not knowing if I could be without him, that I didn’t stand up for myself when I needed to lean on me more than ever. I don’t carry many regrets, but this is one of the only ones that I carry.